Alexander Averin

Friday 9 December 2011

Only Kindness Matters

If you Want To Make Yourself Happy Practise Kindness
 Dalai Lama

More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities life will be violent and all will be lost."
~Charlie Chaplin


Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.

Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
It is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you everywhere
like a shadow or a friend. 

Naomi Shihab Nye


George said...

Hi Cait — I discovered your blog on my friend Ruth's blog, "Synch-ro-ni-zing," and I want you to know how much I enjoyed this posting on kindness. The poem by Naomi Shihab Nye is quite wonderful! I plan to return and see what other treasures I can find here. Thanks.

Mac n' Janet said...

Kindness, so few people practice it, when hurt their reaction is to return the hurt. How sad. When I continue to treat someone who has hurt me in a kind way my husband asks me why I do that and I tell him that I can't be responsible for the actions of others, but for myself I will continue to do what's right and what is kind.

Exmoorjane said...

So beautiful, Cait. And very true. I am drinking in the paintings on your blog as well...which is the one on the right which is un-named? Ah, your blog is always like cool spring water on my forehead when I feel tired and soul-weary. :) xxx

CAMILLA said...

Hello Cait,

Apologies for popping in late, so beautiful the poem and so true too.

Just going to catch up with your posts now Cait.

Hope the weather in Wales has not been too severe re winds, 80 mph here in Norfolk yesterday.

Ruth said...

The poem, and post, really are tremendous. How much we need the opposite of what we want and need, to appreciate what we want and need.

So glad to see my dear friend George has discovered you through this post on kindness (he himself is very kind).

Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

Hello Cait

What kind of world would it be if everybody shared a little kindness? A smile or holding a door for someone would go along way.

Have a great evening

Tracy :)

Elizabeth said...

Too true.
Really all I wanted to teach my students when I was a teacher was to be kind to one another.
Not something you can legislate, but only teach by example, I think.
I do not know why some people are wittingly UNKIND.
It seems so very strange......
all best wishes

e said...

You are spot-on with this, Cait! Have a lovely weekend.

Frances said...

Thank you, Cait, for sharing this Naomi Shihab Nye poem. It is so lovely, so wise, and encourages every reader to take its gentle wisdom into their own lives.


Fennie said...

Nothing matters very much and only a few things matter at all - one of which, clearly is kindness - though one person's kindness is another's neglect, I suppose. Life is never straightforward.

Liked the Kyffin Williams painting very much - in fact I think I can say it is the only painting of his that I have liked, philistine that I am. But I like that red sun on the sea.

What should the artist do to be kind? He may have to be unkind to his family if he is to be kind to his art and himself.

ellen abbott said...

Hi Cait. thanks for visiting me. I like this post on kindness. A simple thing and yet so seemingly rare.

Mary said...

I have always enjoyed this poem by Naimo Shihab Nye. I came looking at your blogs because you commenting on my Mag 95 entry. I wanted to find yours, but did not. Anyway I wanted to pay a visit in here I am, still looking!